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January 5, 2023

Microsoft Teams Sprawl: What It Is and How to Reduce It

“Microsoft Teams sprawl” happens when organizations lack control over creating new Teams, causing confusion and wasted resources.

Different teams or departments creating their own Teams without coordination can cause this. The outcome is multiple, disconnected, and often abandoned, redundant, or ownerless Teams without consistent Teams organization.


Driving factors of Microsoft Teams sprawl

Image representing Microsoft Teams sprawl


One of the main drivers of MS Teams, 365 Groups, and SharePoint sprawl is the ease of creating and deploying new Teams. As remote work and reliance on collaboration tools increase, teams can create their own Teams without involving central IT. To gain ease and speed of adoption, many organizations sacrifice control over who can create new Teams. As a result, tenants can quickly sprout thousands of Teams.

What are some other factors?


  1. Without proper governance, it can be easy for Teams to be created and used without proper oversight. This can lead to a proliferation of teams that may be redundant, abandoned, or no longer needed.
  2. The organization offers little visibility for the end-users into what’s already there. If I can’t see what exists, how do I know I’m not creating a duplicate?
  3. Poor naming and organization of teams can lead to confusion and duplication.
  4. Without proper training and education on how to use Microsoft Teams effectively, team members may misuse the app’s features.
  5. Tracking Microsoft Teams usage and maximizing the platform’s value can be challenging for the IT department.

What are the consequences of Microsoft Teams spawl?

Image demonstrating the consequences of Microsoft Teams sprawl
The 4 consequences of Microsoft Teams sprawl


Microsoft Teams sprawl can have a variety of consequences for an organization, including:


  1. Abandoned, unused, or redundant Teams in a large number can decrease efficiency and productivity, leading to confusion and duplicated efforts.
  2. Ineffective organization or usage of Teams can result in poor collaboration and communication within the organization.
  3. Unnecessary or underused Teams in large numbers can increase MS Teams storage costs.
  4. Teams cleanup and SharePoint organization will increase IT team labor costs.
  5. Improper governance or management of Teams can raise security risks or policy and regulation violations.

How to reduce Microsoft Teams sprawl?

Step 1: Implement Microsoft Teams governance policies

Image demonstrating Microsoft Teams governance controls in Orchestry software
Orchestry’s governance controls


Establishing clear policies and procedures for creating, using, and archiving Teams can help reduce sprawl. Read our article about creating a pragmatic Office 365 governance plan to learn how to get started. 

Step 2: Assign team owners

Image demonstrating the access and permissions controls for Microsoft Teams and SharePoint sites in Orchestry
Orchestry’s access and permissions controls for MS Teams and SharePoint site templates


Assigning a team owner promotes effective usage and timely resolution of issues. To prevent Teams and SharePoint Online sites without owners or members, you need to establish minimum owners and members requirements.

Step 3: Establish naming conventions

Image demonstrating Orchestry's configuration of Microsoft Teams and SharePoint naming conventions
Orchestry’s SharePoint and Microsoft naming conventions configuration


Establishing clear and consistent naming conventions for teams can help improve the organization and visibility of Teams within the organization. Learn everything you wanted to know about creating an effective naming convention in our blog.

Step 4: Offer visibility into all Teams and SharePoint sites available

Image demonstrating Orchestry's Microsoft Teams and SharePoint directory feature
Orchestry’s workspace directory


Although there isn’t an out-of-the-box way to do this, Orchestry offers this ridiculously simple but absolutely necessary feature. Read our article about the Comprehensive Workspace Directory functionality offered within the Orchestry platform.  

Step 5: Conduct regular audits

Image demonstrating Orchestry's SharePoint and Microsoft Teams analytics dashboard
Orchestry’s Intelligent Insights dashboard


Regularly auditing your Microsoft Teams can help you spot and reduce Microsoft Teams sprawl. Microsoft Teams cleanup becomes a breeze when you know where the problem lies. Check out our full detailed guide on performing a Microsoft Teams audit, which provides step-by-step instructions.

Step 6: Use Microsoft Teams templates

Image demonstrating Orchestry's SharePoint and Microsoft Teams template library
Orchestry’s SharePoint and Microsoft Teams template library


To achieve consistency and maximize Microsoft Teams’ potential, create and share templates tailored to each team or department’s needs. Read our blog to learn more about the power of advanced Teams and SharePoint site collection templates.

Overall, Microsoft Teams sprawl can be a significant issue for organizations that are not managing their use of the platform effectively. Organizations can maximize their investment in Office 365 by adopting these simple strategies and regularly performing Microsoft Teams and SharePoint cleanup.

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